I follow those pages on Facebook and those Twitter feeds that show off amazing food from around the world. The bratwurst of the German Christmas markets, the bagels of Brooklyn, those chocolate McDonald’s fries from Japan, Hong Kong street food tours and that Swiss raclette.
I get hungry and all wanderlusty at the same time. The one that has really stuck with me though was something I saw on Reddit – lasagne pies. Like a little lasagne encased in pastry. Problem was, they were in New Zealand. And I’m a few thousand miles (eleven and a half thousand) away from New Zealand.
Only option was to DIY them. Here are lasagne pies. Pizza Cake‘s fancier brother.
250gr minced beef
1/2 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 beef stock cube
1tbsp tomato puree
Splash of red wine
1 can of passata (500gr can)(or, a can of chopped tomatoes)
1/2 tsp of dried basil, sage and oregano
Salt and pepper
20gr plain flour
200ml semi-skimmed milk
Salt and pepper
110gr cold butter
250gr plain flour
Pinch of salt
You will also need:
Six dried lasagne sheets
One ball of mozerella, sliced finely
Six tablespoons of parmesan
Small pie tins. I used silicon baking cups that were 5cm high, with a base diameter of 6cm.
A pastry brush
1, There are a lot of component parts to put together before we start making the pies, so we’re going to start off with the meat sauce.
2, In a frying pan over a medium heat, fry off the beef mince until nicely browned (straining off any excess liquid). Add in the onion and garlic and cook these down until they are soft.
3, Crumble in the beef stock cube and add in the tomato puree. Stir this well to combine and splash in your red wine. Next, add in the passata (or chopped tomatoes), the herbs and seasoning (to taste) stir well. This needs to reduce down to a thick sauce over a low heat. Stir occasionally to keep the bottom from catching. When this is ready, check the seasoning, transfer into a bowl, cover and leave to cool completely.
4, Next, we’re going to move onto the white sauce. In a small saucepan, over a medium heat again, melt the butter. Add in the flour and whisk together well for a minute to cook the flour a little. Add in half of the milk and whisk vigorously until you have a lump free sauce. Add in the rest of the milk and whisk continuously until the sauce thickens.
5, This, again, needs to be quite thick and it needs to be the consistency of softly whipped double cream. The whisk should leave a defined trail in the sauce when you lift it. Pop this into another bowl, cover and leave to cool completely again.
6, Moving onto the pastry, cut the butter into cubes and put in a big mixing bowl with the plain flour and a pinch of salt. Rub the butter into the flour until you have a fine breadcrumb texture. Add in cold water, a tablespoon at a time, to bring it into a soft but not sticky dough ball. Add in more flour if its a bit sticky. Wrap this in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes before use.
8, You can make all of these components in advance, and refrigerate them all. When you are ready to build, bring everything out of the fridge and bring up to room temperature.
9, Last part of the prep is the lasagne sheets. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil with a couple of pinches of salt. Slide in the lasagne sheets, a couple at a time, and cook until they are al-dente. Put them straight into a bowl of cold water so they stop cooking and don’t stick to each other.
10, When you are ready, preheat your oven to 200o/c, roll out the pastry to 3mm thick. Cut six rounds, out that are the same diameter as the bottom of your individual tins and put these into the bottom of the tins. Using a pastry brush, brush this pastry disc with water. Then cut out six long rectangle strips that are the circumference and height of your tins. Put these into your tins and pinch the edges together along the seams, up the side and around the bottoms.
11, Move back to the lasagne sheets, fish them out of the water, pat dry on a little kitchen paper, and cut three rounds, the same diameter as the pie tins, out of each sheet and pop these onto some kitchen paper, in one layer. Try not to overlap them, they can get sticky.
12, Now you are ready to fill!
13, We’re going to layer them like this: meat sauce, blob of white sauce, lasagne round, meat sauce, blob of white sauce, lasagne sheet, meat sauce, lasagne sheet, white sauce, parmesan, mozzarella. I portioned up each of my components, into six equal portions to make sure they were even.
14, Spread the top layer of white sauce over the top of the pie completely, sprinkle over the parmesan and top with mozzarella.
15, Put the filled pies onto a baking sheet and bake for 25-30minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and the pies are bubbling and hot through.
16, Cool slightly before unmoulding. Eat warm or cold.